On August 5 2019 the Facebook page “Adrienne Bell for Congress” shared the following image without a description, which appeared to show a black man handcuffed and attached to a leash held by a white police officer who was leading him down a street:
In under 24 hours the image was shared more than 50,000 times, but the lack of description led to confusion over its origin.
In a separate August 5 2019 post, the page thanked law enforcement in Galveston, Texas for responding to the controversy:
In the post, the handcuffed man was referenced as a “Mr. Neely.” Numerous news articles referenced the arrest of a Donald Neely, matching the description of the image; the Houston Chronicle reported on August 6 2019:
Galveston police are apologizing after a dramatic photo circulated online showing horse-mounted officers leading a handcuffed man of color by what appears to be a rope.
Police issued a press release about the photo on Monday, confirming that horse-mounted officers had “clipped” a “line” to a man’s handcuffs after he was arrested [on August 3 2019] on a criminal trespassing charge.
Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale also issued a statement [August 5 2019] in the press release. He apologized to the man, Donald Neely, 43, who had been arrested on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge.
“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” he said in the statement. “Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of the arrest.”
WSB-TV quoted Hale, who indicated that the manner of restraint was typically used in crowd control scenarios. Hale said he felt its application in the photograph was unwarranted:
According to police, a unit the officers called to transport Neely was not available, so the officers chose to walk the man across a Galveston intersection where mounted units were staging, according to the Daily News.Does the NYPD Have a Slave Master With a Whip on Its Logo?Does the NYPD Have a Slave Master W...
Hale told the newspaper the technique is usually used when extracting people from large crowds.
“In my opinion, quite frankly, I think my guys showed some poor judgment in this scenario,” Hale told the Daily News. “It wasn’t a crowd-control scenario or anything like that. They should have waited on a unit.”
According to multiple reports and police in Galveston, the photograph is authentic and unaltered. It shows the August 3 2019 arrest of Donald Neely, a 43-year-old black man, in Galveston, Texas. Hale confirmed that the manner of restraint was typically used in different scenarios, and that “the department will immediately do away with the procedure.”